Barry Jackson

Two key dates to watch in determining Hurricanes’ QB. And UM overlooked in top 25

A six-pack of Canes notes on a Thursday:

It looks like the UM quarterback competition will hinge in large part on performance in scrimmages each of the next two weekends, including one on Sunday evening.

Sunday’s scrimmage is expected to be closed to fans and media.

An official regularly in attendance at practice said none of the three quarterbacks — N’Kosi Perry, Tate Martell or Jarren Williams — has clearly emerged through a week of camp.

All have had their good moments, but consistently excellent accuracy so far remains elusive for all three.

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Asked about Martell during a CBS Radio interview Thursday, coach Manny Diaz said: “Tate’s had a really good first week of camp, which is good news for us. The other good news is so has N’Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams. We have three guys competing at a high level.

“It’s been watching those guys get more and more comfortable in the system and going out there and making strides. We have a good old quarterback competition. We scrimmage the next two weekends, and that’s how we’ll make our assessment on who will be the guy.”

UM was unranked in the first USA Today coaches poll — which was released Thursday — but received the fourth-most votes of teams outside the top 25.

Clemson was ranked No. 1, followed by Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and Ohio State. UM’s opening opponent, UF, is eighth. The Gators are UM’s only opponent ranked in the top 25.

Besides Clemson, Syracuse is the only other ACC team ranked (22nd).

Nebraska, Boise State and Mississippi State are essentially 26th through 28th, just ahead of UM for votes received for unranked teams. UM’s 94 votes were ahead of Army (91); Kentucky (79); Virginia Tech (64); Texas Christian (63); Southern California (47) and many others.

FSU got four votes.

Linebacker Avery Huff became the final member of the 2019 high school recruiting class to enroll at UM. He must partake in five days of non-pad work before becoming fully immersed in practice, per NCAA rules.

The final new addition not yet on campus, USC safety transfer Bubba Bolden, is expected within the next week, UM officials said.

In the wake of the loss of defensive lineman Nesta Silvera to foot surgery, defensive coordinator Blake Baker told WQAM’s Joe Rose and Zach Krantz that he still feels “good where we’re at. Obviously losing Nesta is a huge blow for us because he’s gotten better and better every day. But Jordan Miller has stepped up, done a great job. Pat Bethel’s had a tremendous fall camp so far.

“The three freshmen we brought in [Jared Harrison Hunte, Jalar Holley and Jason Blissett] and Jon Ford has picked up where he left off after injuring his wrist last spring. A lot will be determined after Sunday, our first scrimmage. I think we have the pieces of the puzzle, just have to figure out where they all fit.”

And what about UCLA transfer defensive tackle Chigozie Nnorkua?

“Looks really, really good,” Baker said. “He’s a mature kid, picked up the defense really quickly. Great change of direction and has brought a lot of strength inside. He’s around a 400 pound bench presser, one of the heavier squatters inside.”

More front seven stuff from Baker: Baker said defensive end Jon Garvin “might have had the best camp of them all when you talk about consistency, coming to work every day.”... Baker likes the unique leadership dynamic forming with senior linebackers Shaquille Quarterman and Mike Pinckney. “Where Shaq is maybe the bad cop with some of the younger guys, Pinckney is more the good cop, be there to pick guys up after Shaq gets into them a little bit,” Baker said... Baker said freshman linebacker Sam Brooks “is elevating his game.”

Baker, on the cornerback competition: “Trajan Bandy has had a phenomenal fall camp. The thing that’s impressed me so far even from the spring is his ability to lead. He’s a quiet leader but has been very, very positive this fall camp and done a phenomenal job being consistent day in, day out. DJ Ivey had started taking a lead in spring camp, Al Blades [who has been working with the starters] is right back on his heels.

“Those three guys are pushing each other every day. Still looking to find out who that fourth guy will be. That’s to be determined. But I feel really, really good about those three guys.”

Baker praised freshman Te’Cory Couch, who is competing with Nigel Bethel and Christian WIlliams for that No. 4 cornerback job.

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